The family of a teenage girl who died following a fatal speedboat incident in Brixham, Devon, on Saturday, 2 May, have paid tribute to her.
Emily Gardner (pictured), 14, from the Gloucester area, was trapped underneath a small speedboat, after it overturned, with three other people on board, just outside Brixham Harbour.
Officers were alerted about the incident by the Coastguard at 12.11pm. Lifeboat crews from Brixham attended and released Emily before taking her to shore.
Emily was taken to Torbay Hospital by ambulance in a critical condition but was pronounced dead a short time later. Formal identification has taken place and her family has paid tribute to her:
‘Our beautiful Emily was a caring loving, gentle daughter and sister. She was full of life and had the world ahead of her. She was our diamond, now shining bright in the sky.
‘She will be missed and forever in our hearts.’
A 50-year-old man and two 15-year-old girls, also from the Gloucester area, who were on board the boat before it capsized, were taken to shore by jet skis before lifeboat crews arrived. They were taken to hospital by ambulance with minor injuries and have since been discharged.
Two men, aged 18 and 50, from the Worcester area, who were travelling on the jet skis and assisted with the rescue before emergency services arrived, were also taken to hospital to be checked over but were later discharged.
The group were on holiday in Devon at the time of the incident, and Emily was with a friend’s family.
The 16ft speedboat, which was believed to be privately owned, has been recovered and taken to police premises for examination. The jet skis have also been taken away for examination as is usual practice in a thorough investigation of this nature.
Police are investigating the cause of incident on behalf of the HM Coroner. It is a joint investigation with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB). Police and the MAIB are also being assisted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Detective Sergeant Andy Turner, deputy Senior Investigating Officer, based in Torquay, said: ‘Our thoughts are with the family and friends who are affected by this tragic incident.
‘I would like to thank the public and the emergency services for their assistance in getting the casualties to hospital swiftly.
‘We are keen to speak to any witnesses who have not already come forward.’
A police spokesperson added: ‘Enquiries are continuing into the cause of the incident. From the enquiries conducted so far, reports suggest that the boat hit a wave before overturning. The four people on the boat were then thrown overboard as a result.
‘It appears that Emily became trapped due to her buoyancy aid getting caught on part of the boat.
‘The other people on the boat and the jet ski riders tried to help Emily but could not free her. The RNLI crew freed her from the boat and took her to the shore.
‘At this stage of the investigation we are satisfied that there are no suspicious circumstances and we believe that this was nothing more than a tragic accident.’
Witnesses are asked to email email@example.com or call police on 101, quoting log 326 of 2 May.